Katja Seizinger

First to Defend a Downhill Title

Katja Seizinger was an anomaly in the world of German skiing because she grew up not in the mountains of Bavaria, but in the industrial Ruhr region. As Seizinger put it, this area in northern Germany is "as flat as my hand." At the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, she placed fourth in the downhill and then earned a bronze medal in the super giant slalom.

Two years later in Lillehammer she entered four events, but only finished one: the downhill. Her time in this event won her the gold medal. At the Nagano Games she became the first skier, male or female, to win the Olympic downhill twice. The next day she earned a third gold medal by winning the Alpine combined event. She also earned a bronze meal in the giant slalom.